As we await the release of rapper EL’s B.A.R 2 mixtape (three singles are out already), music head Selasie of hype360gh blog reminds us of how the B.A.R I became a toast among hip hop fans and showcased EL as a versatile musician.
Referring to one’s self as the Best African Rapper is a contentious claim to make after “selling out”, but, one will never know the true intentions of an artiste like E.L. After releases like Project Hip-Hop with C-Real, who would’ve thought E.L, the self-acclaimed Best African Rapper (B.A.R) will go all commercial with his music? Following musical trends has affected the careers of musicians, but not this artist.
EL has the hearts of music heads. From Project Hip-hop with the “Reality Check” man C-Real, to Songs for Girls 1 & 2, to Something EL.se, which isn’t particularly a hip-hop project, but a mixture of the afrobeats craze and the hip-hop genre, will have core fans & music heads doubting EL’s loyalty to the hip-hop genre. Reason it is a cocky & controversial claim to call yourself; The Best African Rapper.
The tape starts with an ironic hook; “holy mother of Christ, I swear I never “spitted” any funny bar in my life, if the spirit, father and son make up the holy Trinity, before this tape is over, the whole world will be feeling me”. Wait, what? E.L? You swear you never “spitted” any funny bar in your life? Well, you just did! The Existing Legend continues by introducing himself & what he stands for, so far as rap music is concerned. He bashes commercial records being played on radio whilst appreciating real talent on the GH rap scene.
The self-definition continues on ‘Over’, a self-produced record, but this time, it’s more amplified, braggadocios & inspiring as he talks about really starting from the bottom & rising to live the rappers dream, he features VRMG’s ambassador, EDEM. The most underrated, yet consistent Edem talks about his longevity in the game, whilst addressing lazy haters who can’t do it as big as he’s doing it… Did those crabs in the barrel really think it was over? They probably need to think twice because E.L & Edem just begun, really.
The subject matter on “Ma Guy” is an interesting one. Produced by G-Mo, E.L begins by contradicting himself saying; “roll up a spliff & blow your mind ma guy, I don’t smoke anymore but I fit vibe ma guy”. EL! Did you not just claim on “Best African Rapper” that you were weed puffing to get work done? O well…
He really did damage to “underground hip-hop artistes” in Ghana on this record! painting a perfect picture of how unstructured the GH music industry is.
On the second verse, the picture is more vivid, almost as if he was sneak dissing one of these young cats. The picture E.L’s painting depicts a naive untalented individual living an illusion that he’s already a superstar. Funny! But relatable, half of these upcoming rappers have no real idea what’s happening behind their televisions & radio sets. The record ends with an interesting outro cautioning listeners anticipate a particular skit on the tape; “your girl and the skit are coming” oops! Who had his girlfriend gifted to E.L?
Four (4) tracks deep into what seems to be an interesting mixtape, Slimbo’s production will having you bopping to witty similes, punch lines & dope metaphors from the self-acclaimed “Best African Rapper”.
On Boorle (loosely translated from GA to English as ‘You Already Know’), also self-produced record by the rapper EL, he portrays his originality as Ghanaian by spitting some GA lyrics & referring to himself as “Osu maamli” president. The theme on Boorle is unspecified. EL speaks on laurels achieved so far, the luxurious life, the tour life, his aim to inspire upcoming musicians & his urge to achieve more.
All I do is work, work, if you think about it for long enough you gon get it, but you’ve got to work, I tell my niggas hold on we gon’ be there any minute! sings E.L as he features C-Real & Dex Kwasi to write inspirational verses for all their listeners! It’s about time they enlightened their fans on their secrets to success.
Just after the motivational “work”… comes the most interesting track on the mixtape, American Passport. With an invigorating instrumental from Bedi, Joey B and EL takes you on a journey on who they wished they were, Americans. Americans?! Yes! Americans. Why choose to be an African rapper when you can be in the leagues of Kanye & Jay Z, with same work ethics they possess. Clearly, both artists aren’t amused about the poor systems they thrive in. They wish they had better. One could classify this as a controversial but interesting radio record.
A female’s lamentation on what happens to be a recorded voice call, snaps you quickly out of the fantasy world to reality. Was that your girlfriend? asks the 2013 VGMA best rapper of the year, M.anifest & his host, EL. Their vivid description of a beautiful girl’s ASSets comes along with a caution to all boyfriends blessed with gems. It’s a simple warning, keep your beautiful girlfriends away from us, we’re kings! G-Mo is responsible for the production of this record.
Nel-Magnum takes us on a soulful journey to sacredness. E.L spits a sixteen-bar verse of his truth, enters P.K of rap group Greenfield, who spits debatably the best feature verse of the mixtape. Gemini then wraps it up with a sneak diss. Guess his opponent? Let me give you a clue: Watch me turn water into wine, ain’t no missing ingredient, that’s the dumbest line, with all the experience…?”
Wow! Gemini, chill! You guys get who Gemini is throwing shots at, right? OK, okay… Another clue, let me cast your mind back to when a Ghanaian rapper was featured on the 2012 BET cypher, & that rapper said he’s the missing ingredient on the African Rap scene so we could call him “the Irish Cream”? Hahaha. Yes you’re right. Its S… Hahaha. If you still not getting it Go To Church!
Slimbo & E.L give props to their people for supporting their cause; another head-nod tune on E.L’s project. This is definitely an assurance that he reps the motherland, Ghana and for that matter the entire continent, Africa. Despite the fact that he feigns for American things, ELorm Adablah will never forsake his origin. Godspeed E.L, hopefully, you don’t turn back on your word.
Peweezel’s production on Wash Away washes away all the fun by stirring emotions as E.L & Stargo lament on the record. “The jealousy and the hate gives me a clearly view, the virtue, that words do, when they hurt you. I mean I appreciate sunshine, but I appreciate it when it rains sometimes” Some depth right there.
Shortly after the lamentation, Slimbo takes you to the dance floor to bop your head as E.L & Sarkodie go crazy & Show-Off their talents. A goofy track this one is.
On a self-produced record, E.L & BBnZ label mate, Shaker empower their fans with another inspiring record. With three verses, E.L narrates a timeline of his struggling past to his present success. LiL’ shaker advises: ‘it’s the norm, my brother. Before you arrive at your destination, you need to take off somewhere, although it’s not rosy path, you’ll get there if you’re dedicated enough! Saa na εtiε (That’s how it is) bring us to the end of the B.A.R’s tape. Awesome!
BY Selasie (Writer, hype360gh blog)
follow him @iamSelasie
My rating: ★★★★☆